Over 64,000 people and counting don't want to see pictures of your baby on Facebook. They would rather look at pictures of cats.
You read that correctly, cats, or cars, or bacon, really anything else, except your baby.
The new service, Unbaby.me, has the makings of a viral hit. The plug-in browser extension made available last week for Google Chrome scans your Facebook feed for telltale terms that signal that a picture of an adorable/precocious/cute/silly/darling baby has hit your stream. It replaces that photo with a picture from an image-based RSS stream, which currently features pictures of cats by default, but can be customized according to individual preferences.
Unbaby.me co-founder, Chris Baker told Mashable this week that he and two friends—Yvonne Cheng and Pete Marquis—created Unbaby.me to "bring the obvious baby problem to light."
The idea initially started as a joke between co-workers, they say. Cheng told the Los Angeles Times, "We were having drinks one night after work and were joking around about how Facebook is just lousy with babies, and wouldn't it be funny if you could replace all those photos with cats?"
Clearly it hit a nerve, and a need.
So, what's with all of the baby hating?
I can see what they are responding to. I’ve observed that parents and non-parents often have different purposes for using Facebook.
Many parents I speak to are often on Facebook specifically and primarily because it has proved to be a great way for them to update their families and friends, near and far, about what's going on in their lives. And, as most parents of new babies will guiltily admit, it's easy to get "snap happy" and get a little over zealous with the share button.
I love my kids and think they and their antics are cute, but I'm sure I have some friends who for whatever reason really couldn't care less. They probably just scroll on by, or block my updates entirely if I post too much about them.
It doesn't ruffle my feathers, probably because I have no idea they are doing it—one reason perhaps why the "dislike" button has never made it onto Facebook. Can you imagine the drama? No thank you.
Why shouldn't people have the ability to block such content on their feeds? I can (happily) block hearing about whatever game app is your current obsession.
But there are some, like Tech Crunch’s Sarah Perez, who are saying why not just unfriend someone if you don't want to hear about their life, babies and all? Others, like The Washington Post’s Janice D’Arcy, argue it highlights and adds to a lack of cultural support for families. Sure it’s funny, but with a generally nasty edge.
Are you a bad friend if you block photos and updates about my family? Maybe. Are you a bad person? Probably not.
Just like my adorable, precious little bundles of joy, you just want to have everything the way you want it.
When I would get a little out of line as a kid my mother would tell me, “the world doesn’t revolve around you.” That was before Facebook.
You can hear more from the founders of Unbaby.me in this Huffington Post interview.